Berlin’s Got Murals
The Berlin Wall gave street artists in Berlin a 100-mile long canvas to do with as they wished. The Wall stood in East Berlin territory, so West Berliners could step right up to it and do whatever they wanted, with some stern looks from the guards, of course.
People started to come to the Wall just to get a look at the graffiti. Street artists from all over the world started to come to have a go. Somewhere along the line people started to spray paint tiny parts of concrete and sell it as if it was a part of the Berlin Wall. Either way, Berlin has a reputation as a street art Mecca. There are plenty of legal works throughout the city celebrating this. They’re huge. Here’s some favourites (and an honourable mention).
If you want to know where to find them then we made this map for you.
This is one of Berlin’s most famous paintings. The Kreuzberg Spaceman was created in 2007 by French artist Victor Ash. It is often referred to as the world’s largest stencil. There’s a bit of a legend to it as well: a nearby car dealership advertises using flags. These flags have spotlights on them at night. This creates the huge shadow of a fluttering flag on this building that was once in the spaceman’s hand. Sadly they seem to have moved the light now, so it’s just out of our astronaut’s reach. Schade.
This mural next to the Schlesisches Tor U-Bahn station is by the Brazilian duo Os Gemeos, meaning twins.
I would argue that this is the most famous mural in town. Created by the Italian artist Blu, and French artist JR ‘Handcuffs’ is sat next to the Oberbaum Brücke, and can be seen from passing U-Bahn trains, as well as every single boat sailing down Berlin’s river Spree. As is common in the world of Street Art this mural is an anti-capitalist statement.
Just like the previous mural this one is by Blu, from Italy. ‘The Pink Man’ (or Giant Baby as I’ve been known to refer to it) shows one person made of several smaller people. The way I see it is that people have the potential to work better together, to become stronger, to do more and create more, but also to become something quite terrifying, and quite unintended as well.
Aziz from Argentina painted the Angel in 2013. Unlike the other murals on this page, this one was not painted with permission. By the side of an abandoned East German ice factory, this huge white graffiti-covered wall sat neglected. Someone had a little go with a paintball gun here, leaving a few spots higher else than anyone else could reach. Aziz saw these marks, and joined them up in his head, creating an angel hit in the hands and neck.
Ok, so this one’s the honourable mention. You would definitely find it on your own as it graces Berlin’s second most popular tourist attraction (after the Brandenburg Gate), the East Side Gallery. The photo you’re looking at above was originally painted on the Berlin Wall in 1990 by Russian Artist Dmitri Vrubel. A lot of the murals were controversially re-painted without some artists’ permission in 2009, to get rid of graffiti. I’m sure there’s some irony in there somewhere.
This mural is easily the most famous on the East Side Gallery, and shows the East German leader Erich Honecker (who allegedly had atrocious breath) leaning in the kiss the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev (I can’t find any reports on his breath. The kiss really happened, this is a recreation of a photograph.
If you want to find out more about the art scene in Berlin stay tuned for more posts in the future, or of course come here yourselves and book one of our Bohemian Berlin tours.